Saturday, December 10, 2016


When June hove in sight, Shirley lit the tree, and it was so very pretty. She had the rooms decorated very nicely, too, with boughs. After the gifts were distributed by Doris and Shirley and there had been a general pow-wow such as you can well imagine, I dragged the cask from Myrtle to the center and we unloaded it. It held two packages of fancy prunes, two packages of fancy raisins in cellophane, a quantity of fine nuts, and six packages of gum. Imagine the crunching and munching and general mussing of wrappings, etc. Ina Dobson, Christmas 1932
Ina's tree, 1923

I can just see them crunching and munching. I’m reminded of another of Ina’s comments: I got a nutcracker and picks for June & Aunt, though he has no teeth at all and she only the lowers, but they’ll eat nuts, you’ll see.” Ina, Christmas 1935

In her memories, my mother described her family’s Christmas tree, which I think was typical for Ina as well. Mother writes:
Our tree was small, on the library table, and had few decorations. Candles were placed in little holders that clamped onto the branches. There were tinsel garlands and a few small balls. The tree was put in the house on Christmas Eve and taken out on New Year’s Day.

Then Mother continues her story, showing the danger of lit candles on a real tree:
One Christmas we got up with the usual excitement but found no gifts under the tree. There was a note my dad read to us. Santa had had trouble with his reindeer and would have to deliver the gifts on foot. Sure enough! He came walking up through the orchard through the deep snow. Mama hurried and lit the candles on the tree and Papa met Santa at the door. He gave me my doll and an erector set to my brother and was distributing the gifts that came in the mail when Papa opened the door and shoved Santa headfirst out into the snow. His beard had caught on fire from the candles. Mama didn’t light candles on the tree anymore though we did put them on the branches.
I still have Ina’s candle clips and have toyed with the idea of putting them on the tree, but I always talk myself out of it. After all, it IS taking a chance with fire. KW


Hallie said...

Papa and Mama seem to have had a sense of fun--playing with the cap gun and inviting a live Santa to show up on Christmas morning.

Kathy said...

Hmmmmm. At least they were having some fun on that occasion. Grandpa was conservative (frugal). Mother told me they only received one gift for Christmas and often it wasn't much. One year she got a new ribbon for her hair. But -- it was a different time and we mustn't judge. I think it was enough to share a quiet day with friends and family.